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Courts Block Enforcement of Vaccination Mandates Recent court rulings have blocked implementation and enforcement of federal COVID-19 vaccination mandates, including requirements for certain healthcare workers. A December 6 deadline had been set for initial compliance. On November 29 and 30, orders from federal judges blocked a vaccination mandate nationwide for healthcare workers at facilities that participate in Medicare and Medicaid programs. On November 30, a federal judge blocked a vaccination rule for federal contractors in certain states. Meanwhile, a vaccination or testing requirement for employees of large companies has been suspended by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). On November 12, a federal appeals court ordered OSHA to halt implementation and enforcement of the measure. The U.S. Justice Department has asked higher courts to reinstate some of the mandates and may appeal all orders.
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CDC Expands Booster Recommendations The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has expanded its recommendation for COVID-19 booster vaccinations to include individuals ages 18 and older. In a statement released November 29, the CDC said adults ages 18 and older should get a booster shot either six months after their initial Pfizer or Moderna series or two months after their initial J&J vaccination. The CDC stressed that the recent emergence of the Omicron variant further emphasizes the importance of vaccination, boosters, and prevention efforts to protect against COVID-19.
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FDA Panel Recommends COVID Treatment Pill An advisory panel of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) voted November 30 to endorse emergency use authorization of an oral COVID-19 treatment pill produced by Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics. The antiviral drug molnupiravir was developed to treat adults at high risk of severe disease. It still needs final authorization from the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
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FDA Updates COVID-19 Test Policies The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced November 15 that it has taken several steps to further support ongoing COVID-19 testing efforts across the nation. The actions are intended to help ensure the accuracy and reliability of COVID-19 tests, including laboratory developed tests. Updated FDA policies aim to increase access to self-tests and point-of-care tests that do not have to be sent to a central laboratory.
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COVID-19 Travel Requirements Updated The CDC recently updated its information on travel requirements for domestic, international, and cruise ship travelers. Details are provided on COVID-19 testing and vaccination requirements, travel restrictions, and mask rules.
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